HELENA — The Montana Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for Charles Geoffrey Santoro, who was convicted of negligent homicide for the death of Levi Rowell.
It happened outside of Sunburst Bar in August of 2013.
Santoro was convicted of running over Levi Rowell during an argument outside the Sunburst VFW in 2013.
Santoro claims he used justifiable force trying to get away from Rowell.
He appealed the conviction, and said his counsel was ineffective when it failed to subpoena a key witness, a former Montana Highway Patrol trooper who had moved out of state.
Court documents say Santoro's attorney's attempt to find the trooper or have the trooper's report of the incident entered as evidence were untimely, ineffective, and ultimately unsuccessful, and there's no plausible justification or reason the trooper couldn't have been secured to testify at Santoro's trial.
The court also found insurance payouts to two other people involved in the incidents need to be properly credited to the restitution awarded.